Notts Trent student creates gender-neutral clothing out of tents abandoned at festivals

Grace Reeves is aiming to promote sustainability through functional wear

A Nottingham Trent University student has created gender-neutral clothing out of tents that were left behind at festivals.

Grace Reeves, 22, created a variety of gender neutral clothing from festival tents, with inclusive sizing that are designed to fit all body types as part of a university project.

The final year fashion design student hopes to establish her own up-cycling business after she graduates.

Via @dan.robinson._ on Instagram

Grace told The Tab Nottingham: “My work focuses on connection, such as the connection between an individual and their experiences. I want to provide a meaningful connection between the clothing I make, and the person using it; this can stem from communication, understanding and transparency.

“I think it is important to share the story behind the origin of the materials to enhance the wearer’s emotional connection to their clothing while also promoting sustainability through emotions such as care and curiosity.”

Via @dan.robinson._ on Instagram

Grace’s clothing reminds the wearer to enjoy life in the here and now. It confronts the present moment and brings functional clothing and design together. She considers her work as “adventure wear.”

Via @dan.robinson._ on Instagram

A big aspect of Grace’s work is inclusivity, she said: “I want to give people, regardless of their gender or size, to reimagine and redesign their clothing with me through upcycling.” She also wants to encourage people to repair their clothing to elongate each garment’s lifespan. “By giving people the skills to repair and create themselves, we are closing the loop within the fashion system.”

Talking on the gendering of clothing, Grace commented: “Clothing shouldn’t be gendered because it sets invisible boundaries for people’s self-expression.”

Via @dan.robinson._ on Instagram

What’s more is Grace’s ability to find solutions to clothing issues, like for example how womenswear commonly lacks pockets. Grace finds that reversible and removable parts make her pieces versatile and ultimately gives the wearer, regardless of gender “creative freedom”. She added: “If it’s warm, you detach parts, and if it’s cold, you can extend the length, so there are multiple looks in one”.

Via @pushpita08 on Instagram

A big issue concerning the fashion industry today is sustainability. This is a topic that Grace faces head on with a considered approach. She said: “In terms of sustainability, upcycling is a solution to repurposing waste. As designers, we have the responsibility to make a positive contribution to the world”.

Grace’s work is a refreshing take on inclusive clothing that cuts right to the heart of sustainable wear. Her project challenges the inertia of fast fashion’s sustainable credibility. After graduation, Grace hopes to form her own business centred around creative reuse.

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All photos, including featured image, courtesy of Pushpita Chatterjee.